The North East club continue their winning ways with a one point victory as Newcastle Falcons beat Sale Sharks at the A J Bell Stadium.
The opening match of round two of the Aviva Premiership season could not have been more of a contrast to last weekends season opener. We were spoilt with entertainment during round one of the new Premiership season from start to finish. Newcastle Falcons beat Sale Sharks in last nights 12-13 arm-wrestle in the North West. It may not have been another thrilling encounter but Newcastle will happily take the win. We discuss some of the most telling aspects of the fixture.
Sharks Malfunctioning Line-Out’s And Handling Skills
Cameron Nield received a rare start at hooker after spending much of last season in the back row. Sale will have been looking to add Nield’s dynamism to the front row in addition to new backrow signings Jono Rossand Josh Strauss as well as England hopefuls, the Curry twins. No team, however, are able to make full use of their key players when their line-out operates at 58%. Sale’s line-out operated at such poor levels, the Newcastle defence began to stagger their lines in preparation for the turnover. The absence of kiwi second row Bryn Evans and former England hooker Rob Webber was clear to see.
Despite this complete failure at set piece, Sale still offered the most potent attack. It is unfortunate that knock-ons scupperued multiple scoring opportunities. Left wing Byron McGuigan in particular produced three handling errors in the opposing twenty-two.
De Klerk Shines In Defeat
One of the few positives Sale fans can take away from this second straight defeat of the season, is that Faf de Klerk looks the business. The eleven times-capped Springbok scrum-half was at the heart of so much of Sale’s attacking threat. The halfback looked sharp and backed himself to take the game to the Falcons. De Klerk could be the spark Sale need to get their season into winning ways. Another positive for Sale is the 100% success rate of Fly-half AJ MacGinty from the boot, keeping his side in front for the majority of the match.